Regional Customs and Border Management Cooperation

Ongoing support for Regional Customs and Border Management Cooperation aims to streamline and improve customs and border management procedures between Afghanistan and its neighbors as a means of regulating the flow of commercial goods and increasing public revenue. Specifically, current efforts to strengthen customs harmonization between Afghanistan and its neighbors seek to introduce customs-to-customs information sharing (e.g., through tracking devices and Electronic Data Interchange) and other steps toward compatible customs procedures and practices, such as an efficient, streamlined approach to customs that seeks to improve the valuation of goods, reduce leakage of revenues, and decrease the waiting time at major border crossings. Activities and policy reforms related to customs harmonization and border management strengthening also work to strengthen key border crossing points and border management facilities in Afghanistan, the Afghan National Customs Academy in Kabul, and the Kabul Customs Yards.

Current Status

Customs harmonization and border management modernization efforts are helping to improve the value of goods traded, and to decrease the waiting time for those transporting goods between Afghanistan and its neighbors. In the context of the 2010 Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement and efforts to introduce new transit-trade agreements with other neighboring countries (see RECCA Annual Review 2015 project overviews # 7, 13, and 14), the Governments of Afghanistan is committed to streamlined, rationalized, and standardized customs procedures, reduced tariffs, and increased border management cooperation. In recent years, the automation of customs processes with the new “Automated System for Customs Data” system (supported by the World Bank), has helped the Afghan Ministry of Finance Customs Department to reduce the leakage of revenues from customs. In 2015, the total revenue collected by the Customs Department (customs duties, BRT levied at point of import, fixed taxes, and other levies) increased by Afs 10.1 billion from 2014, of which Afs 3.3 billion is attributable to the nominal growth of import value, Afs 4.0 billion to new tax measures, and the remaining Afs 2.8 billion to stronger revenue mobilization efforts. Support for Regional Customs and Border Management Cooperation helps to reinforce the goals and activities found within the Afghan Government’s Private Sector Development and Infrastructure and Connectivity Development National Priority Programs.

Recommended Actions by RECCA-VII and Beyond:

  • Continue to coordinate “hardware infrastructure” support projects (e.g., related to customs and border management facilities at key Afghan border crossings) with efforts to introduce new “software policy and regulatory reform measures” through the introduction of new transition trade agreements with Afghanistan’s neighbors, in addition to the 2010 Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement.
  • Building on Afghanistan becoming in July of this year the 164th member of the World Trade Organization, continue to work toward maintaining policy approaches and technical capacity-building to achieve WTO standards within Afghanistan (including in the area of reducing non-tariff barriers in Afghanistan and its region), and continue to support neighboring countries in their efforts to achieve WTO standards in support of a more liberal and fairly managed trading system within Central, South, and Southwest Asia.
Budget & Funding Status Multiple support projects, including, for example, ASYCUDA, BOMBAF, and ATAR
Institutional Partners Afghanistan, Iran, Kazakhstan, The Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and the World Bank, UNDP, the Asian Development Bank, USAID